Some of you may recall a post I wrote more than 4 years ago, in which I described my extremely negative reaction when I began reading John Ortberg’s If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. That post generated more comments (42, though mostly a discussion between a handful of people) than most.
I came across a post today in which someone interprets the passage much differently than Ortberg does:
Within this story, we see that the actions of Peter are not that of faith – instead they have a foundation of doubt. His actions are not commendable: rather, his actions were cause for rebuke. It was only Peter who questioned whether it was Jesus or not on the water. It was Peter who questioned Jesus, telling him that he didn’t believe it was him. It was Peter who said, you know what, “I’m not going to believe it is you, unless you tell me I can come to you and walk on water also.”
… The boat was the destination where Jesus was heading for all along. It was in the boat where Jesus intended to meet up with his disciples. It was Christs intent for them to travel to the other side of the lake in the boat. It was never his intention for them to get out of the boat. It was never his intention for them to walk on water. And the only place he intended for them to get out of the boat, was once they reached the shore of where he had told them to go in the first place.
The Apostle Paul gives us good advice about staying in our boat. He says to the Corinthian Church in 1 Cor 7:17
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
God never calls us to escape our boat. What ever situation we find ourselves in, this is where God has called us, and its where God has assigned us to live. And it is he, who will direct the course of our lives in him.
Good stuff. Read the whole post here. (But please don’t read something into his words that he isn’t actually saying. Read it to hear and listen and then weigh the words. I think one of the key points is that risk, even if we do see it as for God, is not in and of itself a virtue. Some of us may be called to something risky, but certainly not everyone and not always.)